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Old 07-29-2019, 12:11 PM   #1
Bob Ballew
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Another Boat lost due to Poor Planning...

...An expensive center console with new engine was lost at the Coronados Saturday. It started taking on water and the one bilge pump either didn't work or failed to keep up with the water inflow....They elected to beach it on the rocks and it was badly damaged to the point of being a total loss. Fortunately, another boat was close by and salvaged them and most of their gear off a Middle Island beach.
...You should have at least 2 pumps on board, with one located 2" higher to kick in if a water leak overwhelms the first pump. Three pumps are ideal if you are really safety conscious. Wiring corrosion is the number one cause of pump failure, followed by bilge debris clogging the intake and close behind is float failure not allowing the pump to kick in...The pumps and floats should be tested monthly at minimum...oil residue on a float can cause it to not work due to the extra weight, so, wipe them clean...
...My Parker has 3 quik-change out pumps and I keep a 4th independent (ss) pump with complete wiring, 4' of hose and battery clamps that can be thrown into action directly to the batteries, if an electronics failure occurs. The in bilge pumps should be able to be activated, both, automatically and manually with a dash switch, so you can bypass a float failure. And, last but certainly not least, is a 5 gallon bucket as the last resort..There is nothing like a scared sailer bailing frantically with a bucket, to keep the good ship Lollipop afloat...

Last edited by Bob Ballew; 07-30-2019 at 03:25 PM.
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Old 07-29-2019, 02:59 PM   #2
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Re: Another Boat lost due to Poor Planning...

Heard the call on VHF. Big bummer.
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Old 07-29-2019, 03:00 PM   #3
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Re: Another Boat lost due to Poor Planning...

Great advice Bob. Water belongs on the outside of the boat - have a means to keep it there.
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Old 07-29-2019, 05:18 PM   #4
Bob Ballew
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Re: Another Boat lost due to Poor Planning...

On my "To Do" list is adding a bilge alarm to alert me when the pumps activate. If it occurs while the engines are off and you don't hear the bilge pumps running, the batteries could run down, making the pumps useless. I also carry various size tapered wood plugs to drive into holes in the event a thru-hull fitting snaps off or corrodes loose...you can make your own or buy a kit from West Marine..
...Also, in my tool box is a roll of duct tape to repair hoses, fittings, or make a quick temporary patch if needed. The best repair is to patch from the outside, so that water pressure pushes the plug/stuffing/patch inward while you are running for home...
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Old 07-29-2019, 07:55 PM   #5
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Re: Another Boat lost due to Poor Planning...

“There is nothing like a scared sailer bailing frantically with a bucket, to keep the good ship Lollipop afloat...”

Awesome visual Bob, thank you!
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Old 07-29-2019, 09:37 PM   #6
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Re: Another Boat lost due to Poor Planning...

I also used to keep an independent, spare pump rigged with battery clamps on the boat with a piece of hose attached.

Also with respect to patching a through hull fitting.. A plastic garbage bag with an appropriately sized knot in it and shoved in the hole from the outside with a screw driver makes a pretty water tight fix. I seem to remember doing that trick somewhere.
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Old 07-30-2019, 01:47 AM   #7
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Re: Another Boat lost due to Poor Planning...

+1 for having a spare pump on hand rigged ready to deploy anywhere on the boat. all ready to go in a sealed ziplock bag.

Battery clips and enough length of tinned cable to reach the batteries from other end of the boat [dont trust cigarette lighter sockets for emergency situations]. Sufficient length of no-kink hose to reach over the side from whatever corner of the bilge needs pumping, or at least onto the deck or bucket.

Recently had for'd collision bulkhead fill with water in real bad weather on an ocean crossing. couldve been ugly without that pump ready to drop straight in there. very worthwhile $50 investment
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Old 07-30-2019, 08:53 AM   #8
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Re: Another Boat lost due to Poor Planning...

Great timely topic!
4th of July we took epiphany, our 55ft live aboard, out on san diego bay with friends to watch fireworks.
Soon after anchoring the bottom of the boat started filling with smoke. To make a long story short we scrambled to find the issue which turned out to be a bilge pump had burned it self up. Lucky it was underwater and lucky we were home. It was glowing red.
Turned out it was jammed with hair.

Now have a 120v backup pump, 1600 GPS, that I can drop in there if needed.
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Old 07-30-2019, 09:07 AM   #9
Bob Ballew
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Re: Another Boat lost due to Poor Planning...

A few last thoughts: The smaller the boat, the bigger the bilge pump should be, insofar as pumping capacity. All my pumps are 1100 to 2000 gph. Small boats sink quicker, so, 1500+ is a good middle ground selection.
....I also snap in a square of plastic window screening between the pump and the slotted bracket, held in place with a plastic tie..It keeps out fish scales, leaves and debris buildup that always seems to hide in the bilge areas but, magically, reappears when the weather gets rough and water starts sloshing around the bilge..
...Not a few boats have gone down due to a split in one of the intake hoses...I replace all hoses every 10 years, including the gas line to fuel tank and check for splits monthly...Plastic thru hull fittings and plastic saltwater intake pumps/filters are dangerous...They get brittle over time and can crack apart due to constant vibration...
...The Rule 1100 is highly rated and fairly priced on the low end...Jabsco brass pumps are top of the line and very reliable, but, expensive..

Last edited by Bob Ballew; 07-31-2019 at 11:48 PM.
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Old 07-30-2019, 01:06 PM   #10
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Re: Another Boat lost due to Poor Planning...

I never understood why people don't carrie back up critical gear. 2 is 1, 1 is 0.
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Old 07-30-2019, 01:07 PM   #11
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Re: Another Boat lost due to Poor Planning...

When underway its easy to have a bilge pump blowing water and not even know it. I hooked up an indicator light to my bilge pump and I love it. Anytime my bilge pump kicks on a red light on my dash lights up. I am 100% convinced, if a boat is taking on water an indicator light may buy you a few precious seconds.

Good word Bob about using 1500+ on smaller boats. I need to up mine.
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Old 08-06-2019, 04:28 PM   #12
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Re: Another Boat lost due to Poor Planning...

As a point of agreement, nothing wakes you up faster than stepping down off a leaning post into knee deep water.
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